Leland McMahon “Lee” Talbot III, 72, also known as “O.C. Chef” and “Chef Lee,” of Millville, Del., passed away on the evening of Sept. 20, 2016, after a four-year battle with terminal cancer. He was born on Dec. 21, 1943, in Annapolis, Md., the second child of five and the only son of Leland and May Talbot.
Talbot graduated from Annapolis High School in 1961 and remained in the area for the next 20 years before moving to Ocean City, Md., in 1981. He attended George Washington University, studying law before he discovered his love of food and began his career in cooking.
Talbot graduated from the American Culinary Federation and the National Chef Association in 1979. He worked at the Ramada Inn in Lanham, Md., from 1975 to 1980, then the National Republican Club in Washington, D.C., until 1981. He felt something was missing, so he moved to the beach. Talbot went on to work at the Sheridan Fontainebleau Inn & Spa in Ocean City, Md., until 1984. He then became executive chef at the Wharf restaurant in Ocean City, Md., from 1987 to 1992. He worked as executive chef at the Carousel Hotel and resort until 1994; he then worked at Tom & Terry’s Seafood in Fenwick Island, Del., until retiring in 2002.
Talbot had a love for music, especially the blues, and in the early ’60s, that led him to a small recording studio and the development of Music Research Inc., producers of Bullfrog and Piedmont Records, where he acted as secretary/treasurer. He and his friend Tom Haskins, in their research, tracked down “Mississippi” John Hurt and brought him up from Avalon, Miss., to play at the Ontario Place in Washington, D.C.
Talbot was also an avid reader of anything science fiction or mystery, with an extensive collection of more than 30,000 books. Talbot and his son, Robert, were avid Washington Nationals fans and rarely missed a game together. “Go Nats!” Most of all, Talbot loved his family, the company and joy of good people, and the peace and quiet of life in Sussex County.
Talbot was preceded in death by his father, Leland McMahon Talbot Jr.; his mother, May Lucille Hassell Talbot; and a sister, Betty Ann Talbot. He is survived by his son, Robert Leland Talbot of Millville, Del.; three sisters, Edna Talley of Goldsboro, Md., Cindy Cadogan and her husband, David, of Pasadena, Md., and Patty Robles of Mechanicsville, Md.; 12 nieces and nephews, Lyn, Jay, Debbie, Cathy, Beth, Gus, Stephanie, Andrew, Sunni, Lee, Heather and Emily; and numerous grand- and great-grand-nieces and -nephews.
A gathering of family and friends will be held Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Melson Funeral Services, 38040 Muddy Neck Road, Ocean View, Del. There will be a celebration of life scheduled at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family asked that memorial donations be made to the American Cancer Society. Condolences may be sent online at www.melsonfuneralservices.com.